Research Fellows Directory
Professor Jason Morgan
Royal Holloway, University of London
Bend-Fault Serpentinization (BFS) is one of the most significant geological discoveries of the last 15 years. It has the potential to reshape our understanding of Earth’s deep water and carbon cycles, the ecology and evolution of species in deep-sea chemosynthetic environments, and even the fundamental mechanism by which slabs bend and unbend, thereby driving Plate Tectonics. Plate bending near a trench is now known to be associated with significant hydration-linked chemical reactions in cold lithospheric mantle and overlying ocean crust. Bend-faults play a key role in this process, providing high-permeability pathways for seawater to flow into the crust and uppermost mantle. Although the existence of BFS is now confirmed at many subduction zones, and it is thought to be pervasive along the 60,000 km-long global trench system, many fundamental implications of BFS remain unstudied. The basic geometry of the faults and observed serpentin-ization together with heatflow anomalies imply that there is also a new type of hydrothermal circulation, yet this has yet to be well-constrain-ed or modeled. Pronounced volume and rheological changes that occur during serpentinization may also profoundly influence stresses and strain in the bending and unbending slab. This project is allowing my to pursue modeling and workshop development work to catalyze progress in this important emerging area of geoscience.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)